By  on January 14, 2010

PARIS — Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said sales swung back to growth mode during the fourth quarter, despite what it called a “persistently challenging” environment.

The better-than-expected quarterly performance helped the company post a full-year operating profit of 2.77 billion euros, or $3.87 billion, exceeding its most recent guidance for a figure at the lower end of its target range of 2.7 billion euros, or $3.76 billion, to 2.8 billion euros, or $3.9 billion. Carrefour, which will disclose its full 2009 results on Feb. 19, did not provide a net profit figure.

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